The PET/MRI combination, called Gemini TF PET MRI, places a commercially available Philips MRI scanner in the same suite as a PET camera that's been upgraded with special shielding to enable it to function in close proximity to powerful magnetic fields. The scanners are placed about 2.5 meters apart, with a patient table located in between that can pivot 180° to allow patients to be shuttled from one scanner to the other without getting off the table.
Philips has placed the combination at two sites, the University of Geneva in Switzerland and Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. At Geneva, Dr. Osman Ratib is leading a team evaluating PET/MRI for oncology applications, while at Mt. Sinai Dr. Zahi Fayad is spearheading the use of the system for cardiac applications. The researchers are using the system, which is not yet for sale, under clinical investigator agreements.
The goal of the work is to determine the utility of PET/MRI in a clinical setting, according to Ratib. PET/CT has become the gold standard for many applications since the first systems were launched a decade ago, and PET/MRI has similar potential. Ratib noted that for many oncology applications, both PET/CT and MRI scans are being conducted; a combined PET/MRI unit could reduce the number of studies being performed.
Ratib sees the greatest value of PET/MRI to be in improving the diagnostic confidence of radiologists when interpreting scans. This could enable radiologists to make a definitive diagnosis based on a PET/MRI study without having to order additional scans.
Philips plans to use feedback from Geneva, Mount Sinai, and future research partners to help guide the clinical development of future PET/MRI applications. Philips is the lead commercial partner in the HYPERImage project, a European Union-funded initiative to develop solid-state silicon photomultipliers that would potentially enable simultaneous preclinical PET/MRI studies.
Magnetic interference with photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) based on existing technology is the primary barrier to PET/MRI. Indeed, for Gemini TF PET MRI, Philips had to individually shield all 420 PMTs in the PET camera, and then add another ring of shielding around the scanner's gantry.
Sonalleve MR-HIFU, a high-intensity focused ultrasound system for noninvasive therapy, is being highlighted at ECR.
In other Philips ECR announcements, the company said that it has begun European shipments of Sonalleve MR-HIFU, a high-intensity focused ultrasound system designed to noninvasively treat conditions such as uterine fibroids by heating tissue with focused ultrasound beams.
First shown as a work-in-progress at the 2009 RSNA show, the system is now commercially available in Europe, while the company is about to begin phase III clinical trials in the U.S. in preparation for a regulatory application.
Sonalleve MR-HIFU consists of a table with a built-in focused ultrasound device. The unit can be rolled into an MRI suite, and functions with all of the Philips Achieva MRI scanners and Intera magnets that have received the company's FreeWave upgrade.
Other new Philips highlights include Gemini LXL, a PET/CT scanner that features a number of advanced applications and workflow improvements such as a one-touch scanning feature. Shipments are scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2010.
Philips is also marking the European launch of DoseAware, a dose management protocol, and has begun shipments of Integral Breast Workspace, a multimodality breast imaging workstation.
By Brian Casey
AuntMinnie.com staff writer
March 5, 2010
Philips teams with Microsoft, March 2, 2010
Philips partners with Dutch university, February 22, 2010
Philips posts profit increase despite revenue dip, January 25, 2010
Philips, Caritas Christi join forces in Haiti relief, January 21, 2010
Philips to collaborate with bioMérieux, January 7, 2010
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